Kevin Harvick to Run Grave Digger Scheme at Nashville

One of the most decorated Monster Jam trucks in the world will be represented in the inaugural Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway… and we have Keelan Harvick to thank for it. Keelan wanted to give his dad, Kevin, the most awesome Father’s Day gift ever, so the eight-year-old organized a surprise for his dad – a Grave Digger paint scheme on Kevin’s No. 4 Ford Mustang. It turns out the iconic paint scheme featured on the 12,000-pound, larger-than-life truck that rides on enormous 66-inch BKT tires transfers well to a sleek and fast Stewart-Haas Racing-built Ford Mustang. The No. 4 Monster Jam/Grave Digger Ford Mustang is sure to turn heads this Father’s Day weekend – in the stands and on the track as drivers do a double-take when they see Grave Digger looming large in their rearview mirror.

So how does a Monster Jam truck – and not just any Monster Jam truck, but the Monster Jam truck of Monster Jam trucks – rank as a cool Father’s Day gift, and a surprise Father’s Day gift from your son, Keelan?
“It’s THE monster truck. Loud noises, big engines, big wheels, big tires, fast racecars, and to have that be a surprise, it’s surprising to me because of the fact that it’s with Grave Digger and everything, the history, that goes with that truck. But it doesn’t surprise me that it’s something related to a car and tying it in to what we do. This one caught me off guard, though, because I had no idea that any of this was happening and, to have my 8-year-old son be able to pull that off and know more about it than I do makes me feel like I’m a little bit left out. So we’re going to have to talk to somebody.”

How many times have you been to Monster Jam and what is it about those events that resonates with you and Keelan?
“We have been to Monster Jam. We went to Charlotte. We went to Atlanta several years ago. We’ve been to a few of them. For Keelan and I, racing is a legacy, you pass it on from one generation to the next. And the same thing has happened with Grave Digger and the drivers of that truck. What we do, you see generations of families that have had their fathers, their sons and their sons move on through the ranks of racing. It’s something that you grow up around and are a part of and you learn to love the sport. And when you’re around it, you understand it’s a family sport and, for me, that’s the best part of it – that it’s something we can do together.”

When Dennis Anderson, the patriarch of Grave Digger, was behind the wheel of his Monster Jam truck, he was crushing cars. That doesn’t typically work too well in a stock car. How are you going to live up to Grave Digger’s legacy?
“You’ve got to set yourself apart from everybody else, right? The best way to do that for us is to run faster than everybody else, so hopefully we can have this No. 4 Monster Jam/Grave Digger Ford Mustang doing what it’s supposed to do and running fast – scare them right off the track. They’re all going to be jealous because I get to drive Grave Digger’s car.”

You last competed at Nashville in 2010 during a NASCAR Xfinity Series race. What are your expectations when you roll back in there in 2021?
“I didn’t ever go to Nashville without the expectation of winning. It was one of our best racetracks throughout the years and we’ve always had good success there and always enjoyed the racetrack itself. I’m looking forward to Cup finally going there. I know that facility was built to entertain having a Cup date and I can’t believe it’s taken this long because Nashville is such a great area for us as a sport. I’m excited to be there because we have just a ton of fans. Obviously, it’s the home of Hunt Brothers Pizza, as well. So there’s just a lot of good things that are happening when we go back to Nashville.”

It’s been 10 years since NASCAR last competed at Nashville Superspeedway, and it was an Xfinity Series race on July 23, 2011 that was won by Carl Edwards. The NASCAR Cup Series has never competed on the 1.333-mile oval, but Cup teams tested there extensively back in the day when it was fashionable to race on Sunday, test somewhere on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then fly to the next Cup race on Thursday. Harvick, now in his 21st year of Cup Series competition, has logged many laps in a Cup car at Nashville Superspeedway despite the track never hosting a Cup race until this Sunday’s inaugural Ally 400.

Harvick has, however, raced at Nashville Superspeedway and performed incredibly well. In four career Xfinity Series starts at the track, Harvick has two wins – April 15, 2006 and April 3, 2010. He finished third on June 10, 2006 and recorded his worst finish, seventh, in his first Xfinity Series race at Nashville Superspeedway on April 14, 2001. It all gave Harvick an average finish of third. He also had a lap completion rate of 100 percent, running all 900 laps available to him, and he led 123 of those laps.

Harvick also made one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Nashville Superspeedway. It was on April 2, 2010 when he finished second to Kyle Busch.

SHR Post-Race Report: All-Star Race and All-Star Open at Texas

STEWART-HAAS RACING
NASCAR All-Star Race and All-Star Open

Date: June 13, 2021
Event: NASCAR All-Star Race and All-Star Open (non-points events)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (1.5-mile oval)

NASCAR All-Star Race (100 laps, broken into six stages (15 laps/15 laps/15 laps/15 laps/30 laps/10 laps):
Race Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 3 Winner: Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 4 Winner: William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 5 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Note: The NASCAR All-Star Race was comprised of drivers who won a points-paying race in 2020 or 2021, fulltime drivers who have previously won the All-Star Race, fulltime drivers who have won a NASCAR Cup Series championship, and drivers who advanced from the All-Star Open.

SHR Finish in NASCAR All-Star Race:
● Aric Almirola (Started 20th, Finished 8th / Running, completed 100 of 100 laps)
● Cole Custer (Started 4th, Finished 14th / Running, completed 100 of 100 laps)
● Kevin Harvick (Started 12th, Finished 15th / Running, completed 100 of 100 laps)

All-Star Open (50 laps, broken into three stages (20 laps/20 laps/10 laps):
● Race Winner: Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
● Stage 1 Winner: Ross Chastain of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
● Stage 2 Winner: Tyler Reddick of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)
● Fan Vote Winner: Matt DiBenedetto of Wood Brothers Racing (Ford)
Note:The All-Star Open was the undercard event to the NASCAR All-Star Race, where non-qualified drivers attempted to race their way into the All-Star Race by winning any one of the race’s three stages or by winning the fan vote.

SHR Finish in All-Star Open:
● Aric Almirola (Started 10th, Finished 1st / Running, completed 50 of 50 laps)
● Chase Briscoe (Started 9th, Finished 4th / Running, completed 50 of 50 laps)

Notes:
● Almirola raced his way into the All-Star Race by winning the All-Star Open.
● Almirola’s eighth-place result marked his third straight top-10 in the All-Star Race. He finished sixth in 2019 and ninth last year.
● Custer’s 14th-place finish marked his best All-Star Race result. He finished 16th last year.
● Harvick has made an appearance in every single NASCAR All-Star Race in his 21-year career, the most of any driver eligible for this year’s All-Star Race.
● Kyle Larson won the All-Star Race with a .206 of a second margin of victory over runner-up Brad Keselowski.
● The All-Star Race featured 11 lead changes among eight different drivers. Twenty-one drivers comprised the field.

Texas Quotes:

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“As a team we had a really solid day. Winning the final stage (of the Open) to transfer to the All-Star Race today was the first goal, and we had a fast Smithfield Ford to get it done. It was honestly one of our most solid days all year. We didn’t make any mistakes, and we ran better than we have all year at a 1.5-mile track. And we finally had a race with no mistakes. We needed that heading to Nashville.

“I’m just so thankful for all of our partners that continue to stick behind us even through these bad times. I’ve gotten so many messages of support from our partners – everybody at Smithfield, Ford, GoBowling, Pit Boss, Honey Stinger, Shady Ray sunglasses – everybody continues to build me up and support me even though it’s been a rough year. I’m just proud to give them something to smile about.”

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Well, we didn’t win the money tonight, but I think we at least leave here with a better idea on a lot of different things. We had nothing to lose, and I think we made the most of our track time. I think we leave here having gained some knowledge that is going to pay off as we head into the second half of the season.”

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 Ford Performance Racing School Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We had a really fast Ford Performance Racing School Mustang, and I really thought we were going to have a chance to race our way in. Unfortunately, that incident with the 43 sent us back further than we needed to be and really messed up our handling. It would’ve been cool to race for a million dollars, but it was still fun to be out there and running up front.”

Next Up:
The NASCAR Cup Series returns to points-paying racing on Sunday, June 20 with the inaugural Ally 400 at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway. The race gets underway at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
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Monster Energy Racing: Riley Herbst Texas NXS Race Report

Riley Herbst Finishes 12th at Texas
Monster Energy Driver’s Top-10 Bid Comes Up Short in Green-White-Checkered Finish

Date: June 12, 2021
Event: Alsco Uniforms 250 Powered by Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen (Round 14 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location: Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 167 laps, broken into three stages (40 laps/40 laps/87 laps)
Start/Finish: 12th /12th (Running, completed 171 of 171 laps)
Point Standing: 14th (306 points, 304 out of first)
Note: Race extended four laps past its scheduled 167-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Austin Cindric of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Overview:
Riley Herbst came up just two spots short of his fourth top-10 finish of the season in Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 250 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The No. 98 Monster Energy Ford driver earned his best career Texas finish of 12th on the 1.5-mile oval in the heart of the Lone Star State. After struggling with a tight Ford Mustang in Stage 1, the No. 98 team took a major swing in adjustments on its pit stop during the lap-40 stage break, and the Monster Energy pit crew gained Herbst two spots in the process. After restarting the second stage 11th, Herbst was able to battle his way up to seventh. He ended up ninth in Stage 2 – gaining a valuable two bonus points. After he struggled to pass cars during the final stage, the No. 98 Monster Energy team brought Herbst down pit road during a lap-109 caution for what turned out to be his final stop of the race. The pit crew once again earned its 22-year-old driver another two spots and he restarted ninth on lap 116. Herbst was running 11th when the final caution flag of the day flew on lap 164, sending the race to a green-white-checkered finish. The Las Vegas native restarted 10th but ultimately struggled with the balance of his Ford Mustang as the field headed for the checkered flag.

Riley Herbst, driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Man, it was hot, for sure. We finally got track position there at the end, running fifth, and just got loose and fell back to 11th. It was kind of a struggle all day for us, to be honest. But there isn’t a scratch on the car, so that’s good. We’ll walk away from here and learn and get better for when we come back here in the fall.”

Notes:
● Herbst finished ninth in Stage 2 to earn two bonus points.
● Kyle Busch won the Alsco Uniforms 250 Powered by Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen to earn his 99th career victory, his second of the season, and his 10th at Texas. His margin over second-place Justin Allgaier was .433 of a second.
● There were 10 caution periods for a total of 52 laps.
● Twenty-six of the 40 drivers in the Alsco Uniforms 250 Powered by Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen finished on the lead lap.
● Austin Cindric remains the championship leader after Texas with a 108-point advantage over second-place A.J. Allmendinger.

Next Up:
The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the Tennessee Lottery 250 on Saturday, June 19 at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

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SHR Post-Race Report: Save Mart 350k at Sonoma

Date: June 6, 2021
Event: Save Mart 350k (Round 16 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (2.52-mile, 12-turn road course)
Format: 90 laps, broken into three stages (20 laps/20 laps/50 laps)
Note: Race extended two laps past its scheduled 90-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

Race Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

SHR Race Finish:
● Chase Briscoe (Started 25th, Finished 17th / Running, completed 92 of 92 laps)
● Cole Custer (Started 23rd, Finished 20th / Running, completed 92 of 92 laps)
● Kevin Harvick (Started 8th, Finished 22nd / Running, completed 92 of 92 laps)
● Aric Almirola (Started 26th, Finished 27th / Running, completed 92 of 92 laps)

SHR Points:
● Kevin Harvick (9th with 483 points, 181 out of first)
● Chase Briscoe (26th with 271 points, 393 out of first)
● Cole Custer (27th with 253 points, 411 out of first)
● Aric Almirola (28th with 205 points, 459 out of first)

Race Notes:
● Briscoe was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie for the 13th time this season.
● This was Custer’s first NASCAR Cup Series start at Sonoma.
● This was Harvick’s first finish outside of the top-10 at Sonoma since 2014.
● This was Almirola’s first finish outside of the top-10 at Sonoma since joining SHR in 2018.
● Kyle Larson won the Save Mart 350k to score his ninth career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his third of the season, his first at Sonoma and his first on a road course. His margin over second-place Chase Elliott was .614 of a second.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 18 laps.
● Thirty-three of the 37 drivers in the Save Mart 350k finished on the lead lap.
● Denny Hamlin remains the championship leader after Sonoma with a 47-point advantage over second-place Larson.

Sonoma Quotes

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 Ford Performance Racing School Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Getting time on track yesterday in the ARCA West race was good for learning the track, but there wasn’t much outside of that I could take away with the cars being so different. I just could never get the car to really do what I wanted it to do. We really struggled with forward drive, which, if we had been able to have practice, we could’ve worked on some of that. It’s just hard to make those adjustments during a race. Johnny (Klausmeier, crew chief) made the right calls to get track position, but the cautions didn’t fall like we were hoping. To come out top-20 and learn a lot throughout the race is really all we can ask for right now.”

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 Autodesk Fusion 360/HaasTooling.com Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“It was definitely a battle all day. We got our Autodesk/HaasTooling.com Ford better and better. For our first time in Sonoma, it was a little bit tough not having any practice. We worked on it all day and survived. And I think we got a decent finish, although it wasn’t the finish we wanted, especially in our first race of the year with Autodesk, which is based just down the way in San Francisco. So we’ll go back and figure out how to make it better.”

Next Up:
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race on Sunday, June 13 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race starts at 8 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio beginning at 6 p.m. with the undercard NASCAR All-Star Open.

Monster Energy Racing: Riley Herbst Mid-Ohio NXS Post-Race Report

Date: June 5, 2021
Event: B&L Transport 170 at Mid-Ohio (Round 13 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington (2.258-mile, 13-turn road course)
Format: 75 laps, broken into three stages (25 laps/25 laps/25 laps)
Start/Finish: 9th /21st (Running, completed 78 of 78 laps)
Point Standing: 14th (279 points, 279 out of first)
Note: Race extended three laps past its scheduled 75-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.

Race Winner: A.J. Allmendinger of Kaulig Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: A.J. Allmendinger of Kaulig Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Justin Haley of Kaulig Racing (Chevrolet)

Overview:
Riley Herbst and the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford team saw their bid for the season’s third top-five finish foiled when Herbst’s Mustang was nudged off the track during the closing lap of today’s race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington. The 22-year-old Las Vegas native took the green flag in fourth place for today’s green-white-checkered finish and held his position as the field took the white flag. He was caught up in a cluster of cars while negotiating the esses on the backstretch and, while gathering control of the Monster Energy Ford, Herbst found himself alongside Andy Lally, who nudged him off track under braking for the right-hand turn nine. Herbst rejoined the race and took the checkered flag a disappointing 21st. It ruined a potentially season-best result for the team and Herbst’s best career road-course finish. After starting today’s scheduled 75-lap race ninth, Herbst dropped out of the top-10 in the early going as incidents brought out the caution flag just two turns into the race and again on lap seven. After restarting 11th on lap 11, Herbst made steady forward progress and crossed the line seventh at the end of Stage 1. Under NASCAR’s non-competitive pit stop rules for this race, the Monster Energy team brought Herbst down pit road for a track-bar adjustment and fuel only on lap 26, and for four tires and air-pressure adjustments on lap 27 as he reported a significant loss of grip over the long run. He started 11th for Stage 2 and gradually worked his way up to fourth by stage’s end, again pitting twice during the break for identical changes to those that were made during the first break. Herbst restarted the final stage 17th and steadily gained positions from the drop of the green flag, reaching the top-10 by lap 67. The caution flag flew on lap 68 for multiple incidents with Herbst running ninth. He restarted in the same position on lap 71 and picked up a position to eighth by the time the caution flag flew again for a multicar incident behind him before the end of the lap. That set up the final green-white-checkered finish.

Riley Herbst, driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“That was an unfortunate way to end the day after everything this Monster Energy Ford team did to give me a top-five racecar for my first race ever on this track. Things got a little bunched up there on that last lap. We found ourselves two-wide going around the right-hander and unfortunately we ended up on the losing end of it. It’s a shame because we had a top-five car and didn’t get the result to show for it. It stings, but we’ll just have to move on and focus on a solid run at Texas next week.”

Notes:
● Herbst finished seventh in Stage 1 to earn four bonus points and fourth in Stage 2 to earn seven additional bonus points.
● A.J. Allmendinger won the B&L Transport 170 to earn his seventh career victory, his second of the season, and his second at Mid-Ohio. His margin over second-place Justin Haley was .809 of a second.
● There were seven caution periods for a total of 23 laps.
● Only 29 of the 40 drivers in the B&L Transport 170 finished on the lead lap.
● Austin Cindric remains the championship leader after Mid-Ohio with a 96-point advantage over second-place Allmendinger.

Next Up:
The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the Alsco Uniforms 250 on Saturday, June 12 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race starts at 4 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

SHR Post-Race Report: Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte

Date: May 30, 2021
Event: Coca-Cola 600 (Round 15 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 400 laps, broken into four stages (100 laps/100 laps/100 laps/100 laps)

Race Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 3 Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

SHR Race Finish:
● Kevin Harvick (Started 5th, Finished 10th / Running, completed 400 of 400 laps)
● Cole Custer (Started 23rd, Finished 21st / Running, completed 397 of 400 laps)
● Chase Briscoe (Started 21st, Finished 23rd / Running, completed 397 of 400 laps)
● Aric Almirola (Started 31st, Finished 22nd / Running, completed 397 of 400 laps)

SHR Points:
● Kevin Harvick (9th with 468 points, 165 out of first)
● Cole Custer (27th with 236 points, 397 out of first)
● Chase Briscoe (25th with 251 points, 382 out of first)
● Aric Almirola (28th with 195 points, 438 out of first)

Harvick Notes:
● Harvick earned his 11th top-10 of the season and his 20th top-10 in 39 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Charlotte.
● This was Harvick’s fourth straight top-10 at Charlotte.

Briscoe Notes:
● Briscoe was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie for the 12th time this season.

Race Notes:
● Kyle Larson won the Coca-Cola 600 to score his eighth career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his first at Charlotte. His margin over second-place Chase Elliott was 10.051 seconds.
● There were four caution periods for a total of 26 laps.
● Only 14 of the 38 drivers in the Coca-Cola 600 finished on the lead lap.
● Denny Hamlin remains the championship leader after Charlotte with a 76-point advantage over second-place Larson.

Charlotte Quotes
Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 Wow Wow! Waffles Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“This race is such a long one, and I wish we could’ve gotten a better finish for Feeding America® and Wow Wow Classic Waffles in their first outing with us. We struggled with the balance of the car all day, but it started getting better throughout the race. Once the leaders start passing you, it’s hard to make up for the lost time. We’ll look ahead to Sonoma.”

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford Mustang:
“We had a really tight-handling HighPoint.com Mustang tonight. It seemed like no matter what we did, we couldn’t make any gains with the adjustments. These races are tough, but I’m definitely looking forward to getting to Sonoma and doing some more road-course racing.”

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“We battled all day to improve the handling and speed of our Smithfield Ford Mustang. We got caught a lap down early and just couldn’t recover. When we had clean air we were one of the fastest cars, but I just couldn’t find any grip in traffic. We raced our tails off to try to find something, and our pit crew had a great day. Moving on to Sonoma.”

Next Up:
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Save Mart 350k on Sunday, June 6 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. The race begins at 4 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Monster Energy Racing: Riley Herbst Charlotte NXS Race Report

Date: May 29, 2021
Event: Alsco Uniforms 300 (Round 12 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)
Start/Finish: 1st/12th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standing: 14th (252 points, 268 out of first)

Race Winner: Ty Gibbs of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Winner: Daniel Hemric of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Daniel Hemric of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Riley Herbst and the No. 98 Monster Energy team fought hard for a 12th-place finish in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco Uniforms 300 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. The day started on a high note as Herbst earned his first career Xfinity Series pole position during qualifying Saturday morning. When the green flag waved for the 200-lap race, the Las Vegas native continued to show speed and led the first seven laps. A tight-handling racecar made his efforts to stay in the top-10 more difficult, however, and the No. 98 Monster Energy team was assessed a pit penalty at the end of Stage 2. But Herbst and the team showed their perseverance during the final stage as the 22-year-old worked his way back into the top-20 by lap 106 and into the top-10 just 20 laps later. The final blow to his hopes for a top-10 came on a lap-186 restart. Herbst was eighth when debris from a multicar accident ahead of him cut down the right-front tire of his Ford Mustang. He was forced to pit road for tires and was 17th for the race’s final restart on lap 193. Herbst picked up five positions over the final seven laps, just two positions short of his fourth top-10 of the season.

Riley Herbst, driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“That (cut tire) was probably the difference at the end for a good finish. We just somehow got the right-front cut down but, overall, it was a pretty big learning day. We led some laps, qualified on the pole, but just struggled in traffic and fought the balance. I’d like to think this weekend was a step forward. I wish we could’ve been more competitive at the stage ends and things like that, but I think we’re making steps in the right direction.”

Notes:
● Herbst led once for seven laps – his first laps led at Charlotte.
● Ty Gibbs won the 40th Alsco Uniforms 300 to earn his second victory in six career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts. His margin over second-place Austin Cindric was .437 of a second.
● There were 10 caution periods for a total of 51 laps.
● Twenty of the 36 drivers in the Alsco Uniforms 300 finished on the lead lap.
● Austin Cindric remains the championship leader after Charlotte with an 84-point advantage over second-place Harrison Burton.

Next Up:
The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the B&L Transport 170 at Mid-Ohio on Saturday, June 5 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Stewart-Haas Racing to Honor Fallen Soldiers at Coca-Cola 600

During the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, all 40 NASCAR Cup Series cars will feature the name of a fallen service member on the windshield during the race. This Memorial Day weekend, the four Stewart-Haas Cup cars will assist in honoring some of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang will honor Staff Sergeant LeRoy E. Alexander (Green Beret, Special Forces Soldier), who was killed in the line of duty on June 3rd, 2005 during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Alexander enlisted in the Army as an Engineer in August 1997. He was assigned to 27th Engineer Battalion, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. SSG Alexander graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course in 2004 and was assigned as an Engineer Sergeant to 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he served until his death.

Lee had a great sense of humor, was an adventurous motorcyclist , and always looked after his loved ones. He was an outstanding athlete playing running back and defense back with his brother Reggie. His high school sweetheart wife, Major Marissa Alexander, was five and a half months pregnant with twins Avery LeRoy and Alaya Leigh when he was killed in action. One of Lee’s first time watching car racing was in 2001 at Darlington Race – Southern 500 which he assisted in the re-enlistment ceremony for one of his best friends at Rockingham.

His awards and decorations include the Army Achievement Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the NCO Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge, the Air Assault Badge, and the Special Forces Tab. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.

Aric Almirola’s No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang will honor Navy SEAL Master-At-Arms Second Class (MA2) Michael A. Monsoor, who was killed in action on September 29th, 2006 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Originally from Long Beach, California, Monsoor served from 2001-2006. He was killed when a grenade was thrown onto the rooftop where he and other soldiers were positioned. Monsoor jumped on top of the grenade, absorbing the blast and saving his comrades. He died thirty minutes later from his injuries.

Monsoor was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President George W. Bush in 2008. The USS Michael Monsoor, the second ship in the Zumwalt class of guided missile destroyers, was named in his honor.

Chase Briscoe’s No. 14 High Point Ford Mustang will honor Navy SEAL Petty Officer 2nd Class (PO2) Marc A. Lee, who was killed in action on August 2nd, 2006 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Lee was the first Navy SEAL killed in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Hailing from Portland, Oregon, Lee served from 2001-2006. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Lee provided cover as other members of the team prepared fellow SEAL Team 3 member, Ryan C. Job, for medical evacuation after being injured by an enemy sniper. Lee was killed after exposing himself for a third time, to draw fire away from his fellow team members. Posthumously, Lee was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star with Valor and the Purple Heart.

Cole Custer’s No. 41 Wow Wow Classic Waffles Ford Mustang will honor Petty Officer 2nd Class (SO2) Ryan C. Job. Job was critically injured in the War on Terrorism when an enemy sniper hit the rifle that he was holding, causing the weapon to shatter. Pieces of the weapon pierced his eyes, leaving him permanently blind.

He served from 2002-2007, and after returning from action and receiving treatment, Job went on to climb Mount Rainer, among other physical accomplishments. Job passed on September 24th, 2009 during a facial reconstruction procedure to repair injuries suffered in battle.

In addition to honoring these four soldiers, the No. 4, 10 and 14 cars will proudly boast a patriotic paint scheme to run the “600 Miles of Remembrance” tying in with NASCAR Salutes Together with Coca-Cola.

Kevin Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing Honoring Staff Sgt. Leroy E. Alexander at Charlotte

Kevin Harvick is a two-time winner of the Coca-Cola 600. He took the trophy in 2011 and 2013. Harvick beat David Ragan by .703 of a second in 2011 and he beat Kasey Kahne by 1.490 seconds in 2013. Harvick led only two laps in 2011 and just 28 laps in 2013, but each of those tallies contained the only lap that mattered most – the last one.


Kevin Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team will honor Leroy E. Alexander, a Special Forces engineer sergeant assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina during Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. Image from Stewart-Haas Racing
As part of #NASCARSalutes and the 600 Miles of Remembrance initiative during the Coca-Cola 600, the No. 4 Mobil 1 team is honoring Staff Sgt. Leroy E. Alexander, a Special Forces engineer sergeant assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. At 27, Alexander was killed in action while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom on June 3, 2005 when an enemy Improvised Explosive Device (IED) exploded near his Ground Mobility Vehicle during operations in the vicinity of Orgun-e, Afghanistan. A native of Dale City, Virginia, Alexander entered the Army in August 1997 and completed One Station Unit Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. After completing airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia, in April 1998, he was assigned to 27th Engineer Battalion at Fort Bragg in support of XVIII Airborne Corps. Following completion of Special Forces Assessment and Selection, Alexander arrived at the 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne) in October 2002 to begin the more than two years of intense training it would take for him to become a Special Forces engineer sergeant. He was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group in June 2004. Alexander’s military education included the Basic Airborne Course, the Primary Leadership Development Course, the Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course, the Special Forces Qualification Course, the Spanish Language Course, the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course, and the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Mountain Course. His awards and decorations include the Army Achievement Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the NCO Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge, the Air Assault Badge, and the Special Forces Tab. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal. Alexander is survived by his wife, Marissa, and parents, Ronald and Felicia Alexander of Manassas, Virginia.

— Stewart Haas Racing —

Chase Briscoe to honor Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Marc A. Lee at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Chase Briscoe is riding a wave of momentum heading into the NASCAR Cup Series’ next race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway after a career-best sixth-place finish last Sunday at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. The driver of the HighPoint.com Ford Mustang finished seventh and ninth in the first two stages, respectively, and powered through a race full of inclement weather to sit inside the top-10 once again when the race was called 14 laps before its scheduled distance.

This weekend at Charlotte, the No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford will sport a patriotic livery that includes an American flag adorning the side of Briscoe’s Mustang, and riding along for 600 miles around the 1.5-mile Charlotte oval will be Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Marc A. Lee of Portland, Oregon. Lee and his team members from SEAL Team Three, Charlie Platoon deployed to Iraq in the Spring of 2006 and attached to Task Unit Ramadi, under Task Unit Commander Lieutenant Commander (SEAL) John “Jocko” Willink.

On the night of Aug. 2, 2006, during a cordon and search operation of the heavily contested “J-Block” area, Charlie Platoon SEAL combat advisors engaged in one of the most ferocious firefights with enemy forces in what would become known as “The Battle of Ramadi.” While providing cover from a rooftop position for his SEAL teammates maneuvering on the street below, Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Ryan Job was critically wounded by an enemy sniper. Immediately, Job’s teammates from SEAL Team Three Charlie Platoon and members of SEAL Team Eight responded to their wounded comrade on the exposed rooftop. Lee fearlessly stepped directly into the position where Job had been shot just moments before and exposed himself to enemy fire to enable his teammates to lay down a heavy barrage of suppressive fire, recover Job and carry him off the rooftop to an evacuation vehicle below. After tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles engaged the enemy positions, the SEAL element entered a compound in pursuit of enemy fighters. While clearing the compound, the SEAL element was heavily engaged at close range from an adjacent building. Lee again moved directly into the line of fire to engage the enemy and protect his teammates and was struck by enemy fire and killed instantly. Job, whom Lee risked his life to save, lived three years before passing as a result of injuries he sustained during The Battle of Ramadi.

Having served from 2001 to 2006, Lee was the first Navy SEAL to be killed in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star with Valor and Purple Heart. In his final letter home, dated July 2006, Lee wrote, “To all my family and friends, do me a favor and pass on the kindness, the love, the precious gift of human life to each other.” His mother Debbie Lee put her son’s words into action following his passing, creating the non-profit charitable organization America’s Mighty Warriors. America’s Mighty Warriors honors America’s troops, the fallen and their families with programs that improve quality of life, resiliency and recovery.

— True Speed Communication —